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Chancellor Block criticizes campus climate-related incidents

By amanda schallert

Feb. 24, 2015 4:30 p.m.

This article was updated at 1:25 a.m. on Feb 25.

Chancellor Gene Block sent a campuswide email Tuesday criticizing the recent posting of offensive fliers about Students for Justice in Palestine and the questioning of a student’s qualifications based on her Jewish identity.

Block expressed concern in the statement about posters found Sunday around UCLA and Westwood portraying members of Students for Justice in Palestine as armed militants. He also said he was troubled by the questioning two weeks ago of Rachel Beyda, an applicant for the Undergraduate Students Association Council Judicial Board, based on her affiliation with on-campus Jewish organizations. Beyda declined to comment for this article, citing her position on the Judicial Board, which aims to be impartial.

“No student should feel threatened that they would be unable to participate in a university activity because of their religion,” Block said in the statement. “And no student should be compared to a terrorist for holding a political opinion. These disturbing episodes are very different, but they both are rooted in stereotypes and assumptions.”

In the statement, Block also praised the response to the incidents, such as the unanimous appointment of Beyda, a second-year economics student, and the following apologies from councilmembers who questioned her. He said he was also pleased that the offensive posters were taken down promptly and that university police are investigating the incident.

The university will always take appropriate action if laws or university’s Principles of Community is violated, Block said.

Students for Justice in Palestine members said in a statement Tuesday they are relieved to see Block released the statement, and they hope he will meet with them in the future to discuss further actions he can take.

Compiled by Jeong Park, Bruin senior staff.

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